Week 1: Introduction to Philippians
Hi ladies, I am excited about our hike through the book of Philippians this summer. As we climb deeper into the Scripture, I am expectant to see beautiful views of God’s Word which will refresh our spirits and quicken our joy. We need each other when studying the Word of God to help us keep going and gain insight from one another. I pray you and your gal pals are gathering – whether one on one or as a group – and connecting weekly. As an icebreaker for your time together, consider sharing highs and lows for the past week.
Although the days of writing letters back and forth are a thing of the past, think about the last time you received an email or text from a friend you admire in the faith who reminded you of God’s faithfulness, encouraged you about your faith, let you know what was going on in his or her life while offering perspective. The apostle Paul penned the letter to his friends he cherishes at Philippi and as we will see, communicates all the above as he expresses reassurance, concern and love.
Background of Philippians
One of the resources we will be referencing is Dr. Tom Constable’s online commentary called Sonic Light. Dr. Constable explains the background:
“The story of the founding of the church in Philippi appears in Acts 16. Philippi was the first town in which Paul preached after he crossed the Aegean Sea from Troas and entered what we now call Europe. At that time, in A.D. 50, the city had few Jewish residents, and the first converts were Lydia, a Gentile businesswoman from Thyatira in the province of Asia Minor, and the Philippian jailer. The church evidently met in Lydia’s home at first (Acts 16:15).
Paul’s companions on his first visit to Philippi included Silas, Timothy, and Luke. Luke may have stayed in Philippi to establish the new converts when the other members of Paul’s missionary team moved on to Thessalonica. He may have remained there until he traveled to Troas to join Paul on his way to Jerusalem during Paul’s third missionary journey (Acts 20:5) . . .The Philippian Christians sent financial support to Paul in Thessalonica more than once (Phil. 4:15-16).
The apostle was a prisoner when he penned this letter (Phil. 1:7, 13, 16). References to the palace guard (1:13) and Caesar’s household (4:22) have led most interpreters to conclude that Paul wrote from Rome (cf. 1:19-24; 2:24). . . Evidently he did so during his first Roman imprisonment (A.D. 60-62), during which time he also wrote Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon, the other Prison Epistles.”
Get a Feel for the Entire Terrain
Before beginning the different “legs” of a longer hike, it’s important to get a feel for the overall experience by looking at a map. We want to look at a high-level view of Paul’s letter to the Philippians before digesting bite-size chunks. While you are with your group, read the letter aloud by each of you taking turns. You may want to consider the ESV or NIV version. Ask each other, how would you describe the tone of the letter?
Strap on Your Gear: Let’s GO
Now it’s time to embark upon the first of twelve “legs” of our journey. Turn your attention to Philippians 1:1-11. We are using the inductive method of Bible study which means you are strapping on your gear and taking steps while we guide you. Here are the three areas of study:
OBSERVATION – What does the passage say?
INTERPRETATION – What does the passage mean?
APPLICATION – How does the meaning of this passage apply to me?
If you’d like a more thorough description look at this article. Observation is easy to gloss over quickly since it may feel like, “Duh?! The passage says what it says.” However, time spent making notes of observations is critical to accurate interpretation and application. While on a hike, you observe many details which will give you greater insight into the beauty of the whole experience.
Don’t miss out on the intricacies of how God wants to reveal Himself. Take a minute and brainstorm a dozen or so observations together.
HOMEWORK: Continue studying Philippians 1:1-11 for 10-15 minutes a day: 2 days of observation, 2 days of interpretation, and 1 day of application until our blog contributor meets you here next Tuesday the 11th.
Taking Photos of the Views
I worked with an organization for over two decades where we met in Colorado every other summer for a conference. I fell in love with being near the mountains. I enjoyed driving up into the Rockies with spectacular views. Photos are a must. Similarly, we want to capture images of Philippians in our mind which will stick with us beyond this summer. This is why Scripture memory is so important.
Over the next 12 weeks, we are aiming to memorize Philippians 2:1-13. This week you will commit Philippians 2:1 to memory. Take a few minutes and write it on an index card and place in visible sight. For practical input about memorizing Scripture, read Nancy Taylor’s book Taking the Word to Heart.
Study on sisters! AND leave me a comment to let me know how it’s going.